Turkey’s alleged ISIS support: ‘Absolutely horrendous’
Evidence over Turkey’s alleged links with ISIS keeps emerging. But will there be a high-level international investigation? Will we hear criticism from Ankara’s Western partners about what is going on?
RT has obtained exclusive evidence of Turkey’s alleged dealings with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Russia also provided information, including satellite imagery of ISIS oil convoys crossing into Turkey. Despite mounting evidence, President Recep Erdogan has denied Turkey’s links with ISIS.
“I am very concerned listening to the [RT] report. It seems very damning,” says Nathan Gill, a European Parliament member for the UK Independence Party. “Ultimately what we’re seeing here is that Turkey is playing fast and loose with international law. They are not a reliable partner by the sounds of it. After what we’ve just seen in Brussels with the terrorist attacks, which have been attributed to IS, and now we find that Turkey are funding them, they are helping them, they are opening their borders, making it easy for them to travel around. This is absolutely horrendous,” he told RT.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron supports Turkish membership in the European Union – something UKIP is strongly opposed to.
“The British government wants to give Turkey £500 million this year alone. We are calling for that to be stopped immediately; we should not be calling for Turkey to join the EU. There is no real need for that, when only three per cent of their landmass is in Europe, as it is. We want the British government to look at this evidence very clearly and to be very strong with Turkey about it,” the MEP said.
Former UK Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, described as “very convincing” the report aired by RT which features piles of oil accounting papers left behind by Islamic State fighters in towns in northern Syria. Life peer Lord Peter Truscott called the evidence “alarming” and stressed that Ankara has “serious questions” to answer following the revelations.
However, according to Nathan Gill it’s unlikely the British government will listen to this and deal with the issue.
“I am afraid there is such a huge problem with the migrant crisis here in Europe that the EU are willing to overlook a great deal of the problems, because they are so desperate to try and deal with the migrant crisis, because they are getting so much backlash from their own electorate in Germany, Sweden and elsewhere,” he said.
Russia has also provided ample evidence – including satellite imagery – of ISIL oil convoys crossing into Turkey. Asked whether there will be a high-level international investigation into the case, Gill said “he hoped so”, adding that his party would be calling for it to take place.
“The problem is -when the evidence is brought forward, if governments are unwilling to deal with it and react to it – that’s where we have a problem, because how are we going to resolve this issue, this terrible blight in humanity which is ISIS,” Gill added.
Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma argues that Ankara has been criticized by its Western allies for the past 18 months.
“The West has been beseeching Turkey to do more to close the border and to stop jihadists from going in and out and to stop convoys from going back and forth. The Turkish government has been acting on that. It has been acting much slower than the West is interested in,” he told RT. “There was just a big article [yesterday] in the Wall Street journal – Americans and Europeans are talking about the need to close off this last area that ISIS has at the border with Turkey. But of course that means empowering the Kurds… There is one thing that Turkey doesn’t want to do – is to allow the Kurds and the PYD [Democratic Union Party (Syria)] in particular, to take that territory away from ISIS.”
This new evidence comes just two days after ISIS claimed responsibility for the recent Brussels attacks. Willy Wimmer, former State Secretary to Germany’s Defense Minister, says Turkey made it clear from the very beginning of the events in Syria “that they had been engaged.”
“President Erdogan was very outspoken about President [Bashar] Assad. He and Assad had been friends seconds before everything happened. Therefore, there have never been doubts about Turkish involvement in the Syrian affairs,” he told RT. It’s been known for years that “oil traffic is going via Turkey to the Mediterranean,” he said.
“It has always been very interesting, who bought the oil product from ISIS. Everything went via Turkey. Therefore now because of the evidence being found by RT – it is proven evidence that the Turkish government and the Turkish authorities have been engaged in all of these events. That is needed for the international bodies that have to deal with it,” Wimmer said.